Slice & Dice Beginner’s Guide – Surviving the Dungeon One Roll at a Time

Ever since I started Slice & Dice I’ve been squeezing in at least one run of the game per day. At roughly 90 minutes or so per playthrough and with the game on my phone, it has been perfect for starting a run on my lunch break and finishing up as I cook dinner in the evening. Between playing on my own and streaming I’ve done almost two dozen runs across the game’s various modes. Along the way I’ve found quite a few little tricks, useful combos, as well as valuable tools for dealing with the challenges presented in Slice & Dice. If you’re just starting your own journey with the game and you’re looking for some tips, this article will walk your through the lessons I have learned so far – some of them the hard way!

Basic Mechanics

Before we get into any specifics I want to start out by digging into certain basic mechanics of the game and how to make the most of them. This section will cover rerolls and undos, dying, and experimentation.

Four blanks? Thank goodness for rerolls!

Rerolls and Undos – Crafting Your Perfect Play

Slice & Dice is pretty forgiving when it comes to making choices about how to spend your turn. Each turn you have two rerolls to try for a different side on each of your five dice, and once you’ve committed to a set of dice, you have an infinite amount of undos until you select the “end turn” option. This allows you to try stuff out, even playing out an entire turn to see how it’s going to work out and then doubling back all the way to the start to try a different approach – casting different spells, attacking different enemies, shielding different allies, whatever. This is particularly useful when encountering a new tag or ability for the first time; if you don’t understand how a particular ability works, you can use it and then back out if you realize it isn’t going to be helpful in your current situation.

Now here is a really useful trick: if you lock in five dice without spending all your rerolls, you can undo all the way back to the reroll phase! Now obviously you can’t undo rerolls to endlessly farm for just the right dice faces, but if you save your rerolls until after you try out a particular combination of dice, you can see if the roll you currently have makes for a sufficient turn and then go back and reroll the dice that aren’t working out for you. Saving a reroll can be particularly useful for situations where you realize that something you want to accomplish is impossible and you need to change tactics. If you emphasized defensive dice to try to save someone but realized that no matter how you used them, the character would still die, being able to reroll a more offensive approach will help you enter the next turn from a stronger position. So consider saving a reroll each round and experimenting, using undo liberally to identify the best plan of attack and then rerolling once you realize what you truly need to bring a turn together.

*sweating* See, nothing to be afraid of!

Dying – Not as Bad as it Seems!

Dying is generally considered to be a bad thing in video games, an outcome you want to avoid. Now that’s not necessarily untrue in Slice & Dice, but sometimes the steps one might take in order to avoid death will actually prevent long-term success. There are a couple of important things to understand about how dying works in Slice & Dice. For one, it isn’t permanent – as long as one party members survives, the others will come back for the next battle. Characters who died in the previous battle only start at half their health, but otherwise they’re raring to go! At the meta level, the achievement for not dying during a run is a secret achievement – this means that unlike other achievements, it doesn’t give you a hero or an item or anything like that. The game even warns you that it may not be that fun to accomplish secret achievements! In other words, there are no meta consequences for dying, and the only run-level consequence is half health for the next battle.

Understanding that the consequences of dying are primarily short term can help you to embrace strategies that incorporate death into them. Quite a few classes have abilities that interact with death in interesting ways, having a big finisher that kills them in exchange for dealing tons of damage or granting a large amount of mana. Some abilities have deathwish, increasing their potency on turns where the user is going to die. And there are items that strategize around death as well, such as giving you mana when the character holding the item dies. Fearing death can push you away from some of the more powerful abilities available to you in the game, or at the very least lead you to make plays that won’t do you any good in the long run. In one of my Slice & Dice streams, being willing to kill my barbarian provided the essential setup for a combo that allowed me to defeat a challenging final boss. When letting a character die gives you an opening to make a big play against a tough foe, leaning into that can mean the difference between success and failure.

I shied away from the artificer for awhile, but embracing it has benefits!

Experiment! – Try Anything Once

Early on in the game, you’ll likely have a voice inside your head that urges you to stick to classes and items that feel “safe.” Reliable dice that have few blank sides and have decent amounts of damage, shields, healing, or mana with few complicated tags or repercussions. This isn’t inherently a bad instinct starting out, but you’ll find quickly that experimentation is key for a few different reasons. Units that appear weak at first glance may unlock new strategies you never considered before or have overall more potential damage or healing than a unit with a safer dice. Some magical units with seemingly bad abilities may have powerful, useful spells to turn the tide in combat. And items or abilities with clear drawbacks may combo well with another item or ability that cancels the drawback out.

Experimentation has a meta level benefit too – unlockables! A lot of achievements are tied to the kinds of unique abilities that you might see with stranger classes, or are only possible by using seemingly weaker abilities for their unusual properties. And because achievements unlock items, heroes, monsters, and modes, the more you do things you haven’t done before, the more cool stuff you earn to keep the game fresh and exciting. This is particularly true when it comes to being open-minded about classes you may not want to play as – a lot of new heroes are locked behind playing as other hero types a certain number of times. If you always avoid a particular class, you’ll never discover what class lies behind it – and for all you know, that new class will fit your playstyle a lot better!

General Knowledge

Some skills transfer to almost any run of the game. As you make choices about what classes to choose or what items to equip, it can be valuable to keep in mind particular thresholds you want to reach or tags to look for. Some foes are significantly easier to deal with when you have the right tools in your toolbelt; this section is meant to guide you in making sure you have those tools.

A solvable problem for a guy with 4 attack power.

Important Damage Thresholds – You Must Hit This Hard to Ride This Ride

There are certain monsters in the game that you’ll encounter at least once per run that will be a lot easier to manage if you can deal certain amounts of damage. The first are monsters with the 2! Mercenary tag. Monsters with mercenary run away when adjacent allies are overkilled by 2 or more damage. If you have a monster in the middle of the enemy line flanked by two mercenary allies, you can get three for the price of one by overkilling the guy in the middle. In order to overkill by 2, though, you have to have an attack in your arsenal that does at least 3 damage. Some examples are yellow or grey abilities that deal 3 damage and exert the character, or an orange unit’s cruel dagger with a base power of 2 (this doubles to 4 under half health). Naturally you can also use a boost from a spell or dice ability in order to push a 2 damage attack up to three.

The second monster I want to talk about is the zombie with the passive tag 4: Rotting. Rotting makes it so the zombie dies instantly if an attack deals 4 or more damage to them. Being able to kill an enemy who may have 8-10 health with a single blow is a huge boon, so having 4 damage attacks is another good threshold to consider. This is particularly helpful too because a lot of weak mooks like bones, spiders, and imps have 4 health, so being able to do this much with a single attack guarantees that you can clear them out fast. A few different yellow units have abilities that deal 4 damage in return for inflicting pain, but there are other solutions too. The Flare spell that blue mages start with deals 5 damage for 4 mana. A cruel dagger with a base damage of 2 can deal 4 damage to a target at half health; this is a bit less useful though since you’ll have to weaken the zombie first, and this will never be good for one-shotting mooks. As with the above paragraph, powering up attacks with a grey armorer’s smith tag or a red healing dice with the boost tag can push an otherwise weaker ability past this important threshold.

Look at all those beautiful ranged attacks!

Essential Tags – Technically Optional but Too Good to Pass Up

There are a couple different tags that I have come to consider essential over the course of my runs. Each run of Slice & Dice ends in a final boss battle, and in my experience I’ve encountered a particular final boss that can really give you trouble if you don’t have workarounds for her difficult abilities. These tags are also highly useful for a number of frustrating mid-bosses or otherwise tough enemies you’ll encounter during the game.

The offensive tag I consider essential is the ranged tag. Ranged has a couple of effects. The first effect is that ranged attacks hit enemies who are on the back row. Foes on the back row normally can’t be targeted until the front row is cleared out, making them harder to kill and allowing them to get away with peppering you with their frustrating attacks. Ranged attacks let you target these foes directly and clear them out before front row enemies, which is particularly useful when a boss is on the back row or when the enemy in the front row has the flee tag and runs away when they are alone. The other benefit to the ranged tag is that it ignores on-hit passives, abilities that activate whenever the enemy takes damage. Hestia, one of the two final bosses, deals your damage back to you every time you attack her; the ranged tag prevents that effect, allowing you to damage her safely. She can also summon demons who throw out a 6 damage fireball at half health; dealing that point of damage with a ranged attack prevents the fireball. Being able to hit foes in the back row AND ignore on-hit passives makes ranged attacks incredibly useful for a large number of fights over the course of a run.

The defense/support tag that I consider essential is the cleanse tag. Status problems in Slice & Dice are brutal. Petrify makes it more likely you’ll roll useless blanks, weaken reduces the potency of your abilities, pain makes you damage yourself, and poison can stack to the point that there’s no way to survive. Cleanse clears ranks of status problems equivalent to its shield or healing value, allowing you to get your party back into fighting shape. Whether you’re dealing with basilisks that petrify, a lich inflicting weakness, or the mighty dragon and its stacks of poison, being able to clear out those problematic status problems will often be the difference between victory and defeat. Red and grey characters are the most likely to have cleanse, the former on healing abilities and the latter on shields. You can also find items that add cleanse to dice or replace sides with a cleanse ability; you’re definitely going to want this tool in your belt more often than not.

Maps like this are perfect for the bloodlust tag, where your damage is amplified by wounded enemies.

Play Aggressive – The Best Defense is a Good Offense

There are characters in Slice & Dice who are dedicated to healing or tanking, and they certainly have their place. But often the best solution for preventing big damage or an annoying status is simply to kill the monster about to do that damage or inflict that status. Health is a resource that renews at the beginning of each battle, so spend it! Letting the enemies wail on you in exchange for getting an opening to deal some big damage is often a good way to prevent lethal damage later. There are also some effects that simply cannot be blocked – a foe who can summon new enemies to the battlefield, for example, cannot be blocked or healed away. You need an offensive move that inflicts weakness to prevent the summoning. If you have characters who can only heal or only defend, those are actions wasted on turns where there is nothing to protect yourself from. Every unit in your team should have a way to attack, either using one of their dice abilities, using an item, or contributing mana to cast offensive spells.

This is particularly important because having a way to go all-out offensive makes some particularly strong enemy types possible to clear out in a single turn. The slate enemy, for example, is a huge stone golem that can deal heavy group damage and only takes one damage from every attack, no matter how powerful. But the slate has five health, which means that if you can attack once with everyone in your party, you can defeat the slate in a single turn and stop it from harming you. There’s also the hydra, a massive 20 HP foe with really powerful abilities. But hydras have an ability that causes them to die if they take damage five times in a single round. Having every character with an attack enables you to hit five times, eliminating the hydra without having to find a way to deal 20 HP worth of damage.

Useful Tags and Combos

This final section is dedicated to specific tags, abilities, and items I have found to be particularly useful during my early runs. You won’t always have these at your disposal, but when you do they can lead to some powerful combinations that allow your heroes to punch well above their weight class.

Heavy and Eliminate together are the opposite of a useful combo!

Duplicate – You Can Never Have Too Many Copies

When you use a dice ability with duplicate, it replaces every unused character’s ability with the same action. When you’re doing this with something like a 1 damage sword slash or bow shot, you can give every character in the party a simple attack to perform. This is great for the situation I described above where you need five attacks to deal with a slate or a hydra, but there are other uses. Increasing the damage on these weak abilities can then allow you to make a much stronger offensive push – I had one character with an item that gave him duplicating arrows and another that increased the power of that slot by 2, so he could produce 3 damage ranged attacks for every other character in the party. There were few situations where dealing 15 ranged damage was a bad play to make. Duplicate is also useful for when you have characters who have multiple blanks on their dice, or whose abilities all get depleted thanks to the single-use tag. Once everyone else has taken action, you can use duplicate to give the character with a blank dice something to do, helping you to maximize the number of actions you take each turn.

Echo – Fun with Multiplication

Echo is a tag that copies the value of the previously-used dice for the current one. This allows you to take an otherwise weak ability and amplify it to a much higher value, and turn that value to a different purpose. For example, if you have an ability that grants 5 healing and you follow that up with an echo attack, the attack will do 5 damage. Echo rewards you for the largest values that you can muster and so combines well with other tags that have multiplicative properties. Duel, deathwish, engage, and cruel all double their usual values under the right circumstances, so activating those abilities first and then following with an echo can be very effective. Even better is if you can use an item like the dolphin or the rubber ducky to put echo onto an ability that already has one of those other tags – I beat Hestia this way by echoing 10 damage onto a cruel ability, allowing me to deal 20 damage at once when she was under half health.

Plenty of enemies can hit multiple characters or your whole team – it’s only fair to reply in kind!

Cleave – Gotta Stab Em All

Cleave is an ability I largely stayed away from during my early runs because most of the time, it was attached to an ability with low value. Sure, you can deal 1 damage to multiple targets, but most of the time it is way more useful to deal bigger values of damage and target down a specific foe. But did you know that you can use cleave attacks to hit the back row? Foes that are normally impossible to hit from the front can still be cleaved, and since back row enemies often have small values of health (only two or three), cleave can be great for getting rid of those enemies before they start causing you too much trouble. A yellow unit with cleave along with an orange unit that has a 2 damage ranged attack are the perfect match for dealing with a sniper. Or you can boost cleave with a red character’s boost heal to make the damage high enough to clear out small foes all on its own. This is also great for dealing with the slimelets that pop out of a slimer as you whittle it down, or quickly clearing out a pack of status-inflicting illusions.

Maximizing Your Turn

Ideally, you want to take at least five actions every turn, with each character contributing. This can be difficult when you have blanks on your dice to deal with or abilities like single-use or exert to manage. It’s helpful to have tools for handling these circumstances as part of your gear, abilities, or spells. Earlier we discussed how the duplicate tag can replace blanks on your dice in a pinch. There’s another neat combo too – using duplicate along with dice that can be used multiple times. Dice with tags like rescue or savage can be activated multiple times if they meet certain conditions, but sometimes that additional activation is essentially unnecessary. A duplicate ability allows you to replace the second activation so you can do something more useful. This is also true for any dice that can be used twice like the red double heal or the grey double shield. Many items replace specific faces of your dice with a new ability; some are even specifically designed to fill in blanks, such as the powdered mana that replaces blanks with +1 mana faces. When choosing items, picking items that guarantee you will always be able to take action should be a priority – there is no worse feeling than the powerlessness that comes from having multiple blanks come up on your turn, or getting locked into an ability you cannot use. Arm yourself with tools that help you to mitigate or avoid this problem.

I hope you found this to be a helpful introduction to Slice & Dice! I’ll be continuing to play the game in the coming weeks and may come up with some additional recommendations, particularly as it relates to specific game modes or builds. In the meantime if you have questions about the game, feel free to post them in the comments – I’m happy to share what I know or help to find out what I don’t!

2 thoughts on “Slice & Dice Beginner’s Guide – Surviving the Dungeon One Roll at a Time

Add yours

  1. Literally right after reading this guide I finally won on normal for the first time (10+ tries before). Maybe it just was luck, but your tips definitely really helped me. I was just trying to do an explore run, so I took the Artificer when I saw it. I took Statue even when I had a single and kinda bad item which gave dice. And it all worked out πŸ™‚ Got an item for Statue which changed all blanks to +3 mana, combined with some good spells and he was awesome. He can also just take hits and I don’t care because of his HP. The run was done when I got Shuriken something for Leader, so I was doing 1x 2dmg and 4x 4dmg ranged attacks. Hexia stood no chance and died in two turns.

    Just wanted to say thanks for the article πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! Definitely a great use for the Statue. Congratulations on the win and thanks for sharing this, it’s always really nice to hear that one of my guides has helped someone.

      Like

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